Zim takes UN tourism SG bid to Japan ZIM-JAP TIES STRENGTHENED
ZIMBABWE and Japan have agreed to increase cooperation in tourism industry development and strengthen bilateral ties for mutual economic benefit.
Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Anastancia Ndhlovu and Japanese Vice Commissioner for Tourism Agency Mr Yasuto Kawarabayashi held lengthy discussions on various tourism development issues during her visit to Tokyo recently.
Ndhlovu was in Japan attending the 2016 Japan Annual International Tourism Fair alongside more than 140 participating states including those from Africa.
The Deputy Minister participated in the official ribboncutting ceremony, which marked the launch of JATA 2016 at Tokyo’s Big Sight Convention Centre in Odaiba last week alongside top Japanese officials and other distinguished guests.
She engaged the Japanese government on the candidature of Dr Walter Mzembi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry for the post of Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Elections for the coveted post will take place during the UNWTO Executive Council meeting to be held in Madrid, Spain, in May 2017. Japan is a member of the UNWTO Executive Council.
Kawarabayashi acknowledged dR Mzembi’s impressive credentials for the job and promised to maintain close communication with the government of Zimbabwe as the electoral process evolves.
All 15 Sadc member states participated in the event under Retosa, the regional tourism promotion agency.
Zimbabwe on average receives about 30 000 Japanese tourists each year mainly destined for the Victoria Falls, one of the top global destinations. Ndhlovu noted the potential to increase Japanese arrivals and engaged the tourism authorities in Tokyo to facilitate support for Zimbabwe.
She stressed the importance of sharing experiences, training tour guides, training of trainers in the tourism and hospitality sector and the joint promotion of both tourism destinations and investment opportunities in the field of tourism.
“The Japanese tourism authorities, working in collaboration with JICA, are also interested in expanding their support for our community based tourism enterprises programme,” said Ndhlovu.
“They fully appreciate the importance of the programme and the fact that communities, including rural communities, need to derive direct benefit from tourist activities and attractions which are located within their midst”.
Kawarabayashi said Japan was targeting attracting 40 million tourist arrivals in the country by the year 2020 — the year that Tokyo will host the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
From Tokyo, the Deputy Minister visited Seoul in the Republic of Korea, a key member of the UNWTO’s Executive Council to discuss the future development of tourism exchanges between Korea and Zimbabwe and sought the support of the Korean government for the candidature of Dr Mzembi.
Deputy Minister Anastancia Ndhlovu